A NUMBER of facts, taken from the occurrences of later times, may be alleged to support the theory of a former intercourse of China and Japan with the islands which lie between those countries and America, and also with the western coast of the latter. Even if the Chinese and Japanese (to whom, with their knowledge of the compass, such an enterprise would have presented no difficulties) have never at any time intentionally undertaken a voyage to America, it has nevertheless happened that ships from Eastern Asia, China, and Japan, as well as those of Russians from Ochotsk and Kamtschatka, have been cast away on the islands and coasts of the New World. 1 The earliest Spanish travellers and discoverers heard of foreign merchants who had landed on the north-west coast of America, and even assert that they saw fragments of a Chinese vessel. 2 This much we know, that the crew of a Japanese junk accidentally
discovered a great continent in the East, remained there over winter, and safely returned home. The Japanese have remarked that the land extended further to the north-west. 1 They may have wintered in California, and then coasted as far north as Aliaska. Another Japanese vessel was wrecked about the end of the year 1832 on Oahu, one of the Sandwich Islands, concerning which the Hawaiian Spectator contained the following observation: 2--"This Japanese vessel had nine men on board, who were bringing fish from one of the southern Chinese islands to Jeddo. A storm blew them out into the open sea, where they were driven about between ten and eleven months, until they finally landed in the haven Waiala, in the island Oahu. The ship was wrecked, but the men were brought safely to Honolulu, where they remained eighteen months, and then, by their own desire, were sent to Kamtschatka, whence they hoped to steal quietly into their own country; for the barbarously cruel Government of Japan, 3 mindful of the artifices of the Portuguese
[paragraph continues] Jesuits, and continually fearing some plot on the part of the neighbouring Russians, have forbidden even the return of their own shipwrecked countrymen. As the natives of Hawaii," so continues the Spectator, "saw these foreigners, so similar to themselves in external appearance, and in many manners and customs, they were astonished, and declared unanimously, 'There is no doubt ou the subject; we came from Asia.'" Another example of a Japanese vessel in America, and of the unreflecting, jealous policy of the Dairi, is as follows:--During the winter of 1833-34, a Japanese junk was wrecked on the north-west coast of America, in the vicinity of Queen Charlotte's Island, and the numerous crew, weakened by hunger, were murdered by the natives, with the exception of two persons. The Hudson Bay Company kindly took charge of these survivors, and sent them, in 1834, to England, whence they were forwarded to Macao. This was considered a fortunate event, and the English hoped that the Japanese Government, mindful of such kind treatment of their subjects, would show themselves grateful, and perhaps remove the restrictions against all foreigners. In vain. The ship that was to restore to the Japanese rulers their subjects, and at the same time aid in the missionary enterprise (Karl Gützlaff being on board), was received with a salute of cannon-balls, and obliged to leave, with unfulfilled intentions, the shores of this inhospitable land.
All of these facts show, however, and indeed sufficiently,
that. the passage of Eastern Asiatics to the western islands and shores of America is in the highest degree possible. And it is also possible that the inhabitants of these islands, in their weak boats, may from time to time, accidentally or intentionally, have landed upon the Asiatic Continent. "It is wonderful," says the Jesuit Hieronymus d’Angelis, the first European who landed in Jeso (A.D. 1618), "how bold and experienced are these people in the management of their vessels. In their frail boats they often undertake voyages of from two to three months' duration; and however often they may be wrecked, still there are ever new adventurers ready to take their place and run the same risks."
The pride and barbarism of the numerous countries situated on the coasts of Asia and America, as well as of the inhabitants of the islands lying between, have forbidden hitherto any hope of a relation, commercial or otherwise, between them and the more enlightened world. Our age, however, which has broken through so many obstacles, never again to be closed, will ultimately break the chains of Eastern Asia, and give a world-movement (Weltbewegung) to the immense numbers imprisoned there. When this shall have been fully accomplished--and the beginning has already taken place--we can first hope for a regular, unbroken union between the Eastern and the Western World.
43:1 An account of a Russian ship cast away, A.D. 1761, on the coast of California, may be found in the travels of several Jesuit missionaries in America, published by Murr, Nuremberg, 1785, p. 337.
43:2 Torquemada, Mon. Ind., iii. 7; Acosta, Hist. Nat. Amer., iii. 12.
44:1 Kampfer: Geschichte von Japan, Lemgo, 1777, i. 82.
44:2 Hawaiian Spectator, i. 296, quoted in Belcher's "Voyage Round the World," London, 1843, i. 304. Also see "History of the Hawaiian or Sandwich Islands, from the earliest traditionary period to the present time," by James Jackson Jarvis, London, 1843. I have been personally well acquainted with both these writers, and can commend their works as those of men of accurate observation. Jarvis states that, according to the tradition of the islanders, several such vessels had been wrecked upon Hawaii before the island was discovered by whites or Europeans.--C. G. L.
44:3 The reader will please to remember that all this was written thirty years ago, before Japan had entered on the great race of civilisation.